Browsing '2014 World Cup' News

2014 World Cup

Paulisson Miura/Flickr

Following a “fantastic” experience covering the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, a Doha Stadium Plus sports reporter has returned to Qatar to share his observations about the tournament’s host.

In a recent DSP column, journalist N. Ganesh gave Brazil tops marks in terms of organization, friendliness and fun, and based on his experience there offers this advice to Qatar to ensure a successful 2022 World Cup:

  • Qataris should try harder to mix with the expat population. They “must understand how it feels like mingling with the foreigners living in their own country. Only then can they welcome the fans from abroad with open arms. Brazil could do that.”
  • The 2022 World Cup experience should be enjoyable even when there’s no matches on. “They must ensure there is enough avenues for them to have fun. Some of the experiences Brazil could offer are not permissible in Qatar due to the region’s sensitivities, but there will be a lot of takers for those that are unique in the Arab world, be it the cuisine or dune bashing.”
  • Train policemen better. In Brazil, those who managed the crowds rarely postured, asserts Ganesh. Even after Brazil flamed out 1-7 against Germany, traffic flowed smoothy, he said. In Qatar, however, big football matches always end up falling into chaos, in large part due to poor security: “Sadly, year after year, it is the forces who panic more than the public before the Emir’s Cup final. It results from a lack of preparation and homework. It is the events that should shine and not event managers.”

What tips would you add? Thoughts?

All photos by Chantelle D’mello

Those heading to the newly opened Brazil 2014 FIFA Fan Zone at Katara may want to grab a sweater before tuning into the matches.

Despite the hot, humid weather last night and the open-air atmosphere, temperatures at the fan zone stayed in the cool mid-20Cs.

“It’s great,” said local Syrian resident Shireen Khalil, who attended the match along with her family. “I thought that it wouldn’t work well, but I’m surprised. And really cold.”

Critics abroad have expressed skepticism about Qatar’s pledge to use cooling technology during the 2022 World Cup, which falls during the sweltering summer months.

FIFA Brazil Fan Zone

Chantelle D'mello

Four cooling columns were set up near the stands yesterday during a live screening of the Brazil vs. Chile match.

In a statement, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SCDL) said that various strategies were being employed to keep the seated areas cool, including “high level jet nozzles” and cooling mists.

However, temperatures in the periphery of the fan zone, especially in areas near the entrance and whatever was not enclosed by the four pillars, were noticeably warmer.

Speaking to Doha News yesterday, SCDL spokesman Nasser Al Khater said:

“We’re excited and pleased with the turnout. We have always promised a working cooling system and we have delivered. Going forward, we’re going to use the lessons learned to better our work. Registration was smooth, and we’ve seen a lot of social media and online interaction.”

He added that the cooling technology was also being tested at the Aspire Fan Zone that has been set up for Aspire staff to watch the 2014 games.

Logistics

Despite a big publicity push – and being one of the only free venues to watch World Cup match screenings in Qatar – the 1,500-person capacity fan zone opened to less than a full house last night. According to Al Khater, the beginning of Ramadan was a contributing factor.

However, fans who did turn up enjoyed a large seating area with bleachers, couches and giant pillows.

Pre-registration to attend the event was originally encouraged, and only those who did so online and printed out parking passes were allowed to park in the designated areas outside the fan zone.

But now, due to problems with the online system, registration is taking place at the nearby Doha Exhibition Center on the day of each match. Parking is available at the DEC, and fans will be taken to the match screenings in a shuttle.

The buses will run continuously while the fan zone is open. The zone’s hours vary, depending on the World Cup match schedule:

  • Sunday, June 29: 5pm to 2am
  • Monday, June 30: 5pm to 2am
  • Tuesday, July 1: 5pm to 2am
  • Friday, July 4: 5pm to 2am
  • Saturday, July 5: 5pm to 2am
  • Tuesday, July 8: 9pm to 2am
  • Wednesday, July 9: 9pm to 2am
  • Saturday, July 12: 9pm to 2am
  • Sunday, July 13: 7pm to 1am

Upon entering the fan zone, fans are registered along with their email addresses, and are issued wristbands.

In the zone, the wristbands are used to identify fans, and any pictures taken within the zone, goals scored at the various games, or caricatures drawn, are supposed to be sent to the fan’s registered email address.

Passes are valid for one day only, but can cover more than one game on that day. Fans looking to score last-minute tickets to the games can only do so on the day of the matches.

The ticketing booths at the Exhibition Center will open an hour prior to the opening of the zone, according to PR Manager Jawaher Al-Khuzaei.

Offerings

The zone features three screens, each dedicated to a different part of the game. The main screen directly in front of the seating area screened the game, while elongated screens to the sides kept track of each side’s score, fouls, and showcased other relevant facts.

Sound and lighting worked in tandem with the game. A yellow card meant that the stadium was bathed in yellow light and dramatic music, highlighting fans’ reactions.

Other attractions include a virtual reality headset Oculus Rift, a 11-on-11 foosball table commissioned by KIA, and pressure and accuracy sensors to measure the strength and direction of a player’s kick at various dedicated game stalls.

FIFA Brazil Fan Zone

Chantelle D'mello

The zone also features a kids’ play zone, a caricature artist, face-painting stalls and an official FIFA-branded merchandise store, which sold World Cup-related items.

Jugglers and performers in costume roamed the zone prior to the match, entertaining the crowd.

Meanwhile, good and beverage stalls on both sides of the zone sold sandwiches, hot dogs, chips and beverages for between QR10 to QR25.

The opening of the fan zone saw an acrobatic and percussion show, with performers twirling Brazil flags, beating drums, performing somersaults, and other acrobatic feats.

An MC then welcomed fans, and showcased tweets with the #MyFanZone hashtag on the zone’s LED screens.

During half-time, Wonho Chung, a Korean comedian born and raised in Saudi Arabia, entertained the audience.

Fans can expect similar entertainment during other matches, with a lineup including:

  • Capoeira performers challenging Middle Eastern footballers;
  • Beatboxing sessions with Dubai-based performer Ray;
  • Comedians Hamad Al-Amari and Hisam Fageeh;
  • Sand artist Shayma Al Mughairy;
  • Singer Hala Al Turk; and
  • 2xtreme Football – a show combining martial arts, parkour, freestyle football, and breakdancing.

Do you plan to check out the fan zone over the next few weeks? Thoughts?

World Cup Fan Zone

Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy

Starting June 28, Qatar will open a Brazil 2014 fan zone for football enthusiasts here who wish to tune into the second round of the FIFA World Cup.

The purpose-built family zone at Katara Cultural Village will show 16 live matches from June 28 until the final in mid-July on a 10m LED panoramic screen – the biggest of its kind in Qatar, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SCDL) has said.

The timing of the event is to coincide with Ramadan, a SCDL spokesman told Doha News.

The open-air venue will have a retractable roof and will be cooled using a prototype of one of the systems of “innovative technology” that Qatar is developing to use in stadiums and other public areas when it hosts the World Cup in 2022, the Supreme Committee said in a statement.

Pre-registration

Match screenings are free and open to all, but the organizers recommend pre-registering to guarantee a place in the 1,500 capacity venue. This can be done by filling out an online booking form here.

Attendees will be required to provide their full names and Qatar ID numbers or passport numbers. Anyone under 18 years old must be registered by an adult, and accompanied by one during the match.

Those who pre-register will be entered into a competition to win prizes, which include a trip to the World Cup finals in Rio de Janeiro, two Kia vehicles and brunch and an overnight stay for two at the W Doha hotel.

Logistics

The fan zone will be open for two hours prior to the start of the first game, and for one hour after the end of the final match.

Fans can book to watch up to a maximum of four nights per person through the pre-registration system.

For those who haven’t booked ahead, there will also be a limited number of tickets available on the night of the games. These can be collected in person from the Doha Exhibition Center (DEC) near Katara, but are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Car parking for visitors will be at the DEC parking lot, but those who pre-register can get a premium pass to park closer to the venue.

Shuttle buses will transport people from the parking to the venue throughout the event.

Family activities

Among the entertainment on offer will be a kids’ corner – with face painting, soft play, a mini entertainer stage and a gaming pod.

Family-friendly interactive activities will also include an agility test, mini beach football, a “power shot” game to test the speed of penalty shots, and “precision shot” for would-be footballers to try to score as many goals as possible in 60 seconds.

table-football1-1024x576

SCDL

The zone will also feature Qatar’s biggest football table.

On stage, there will be popular regional entertainers, including acts such as music and dance to stand-up comedy, story telling, juggling and acrobatic skills, Brazilian drumming and capoeira.

Food will also be available for sale after sunset prayers.

Quizzed as to why the Fan Zone was not open for the start of the World Cup, a SCDL spokesman told Doha News:

“The decision was made to open it to coincide with the start of the second round and also the start of Ramadan. This is a time when families come together to celebrate.”

For the opening round of the competition, football fans have the choice of tuning in at home through extra packages, or watching matches in one of the many hotels in Doha which are hosting World Cup events. However, many of them have entry charges or minimum spend requirements.

Large screens have also been put up in Souq Waqif screening some of the matches and have attracted sizeable crowds.

Do you plan to check out the fan zone? Thoughts?